Tuesday, 2 February 2010

The Asian Rattan Adventure - part four

The first four stages of weaving cane panelling are done on a loom much like fabric or carpets. The looms are quite small and operated by one person monitoring the whole process. The working area is full of bobbins of cane ready to use on the machine to replace any of the numerous strands should a join break or a bobbin run out. It is noisy, but not as bad as you might expect, we could still easily hold a conversation despite the fact that three machines were working! This part of the process produces the base four way "chequerboard" weave.


The rolls of four way weave pass to another group of workers in a large bright open area. Lengths of pre-cut cane about 30" long lie in large bundles alongside each workstation. Each station has a wooden workbench with an assortment of corkscrew tools.

The corkscrew tools are amazing! In the picture you can see the assortment of different sizes used. They are fed through the four way weave diagonally with incredible speed and dexterity by the workers, on the end is a metal "eye" for the cane which is on a kind of gimbal allowing full rotation. The cane once threaded into the eye is pulled through the weave with ease. A wooden guide is clamped to the bench holding the panel in position to keep the weave square and true.

Once the weaving is finished the rolls go for quality control inspection before being packed. The whole process is very impressive, the level of skill, attention to detail and efficiency of the workers is amazing. It was a privilege to meet them all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear about the burglary. I hope that the culprit slips on the ice!
I am jealous of your Hong Kong trip. I have always wanted to see the rattan being 'done'.
I would love to get hold of one of those corkscrew thingies for doing the crossings.
Thank you so much for taking the time (where do you get it from, I must put in an order) to write about it all.
We went to HK some years ago as it was my husband's favourite place to fly to (42 times) as a long-haul pilot, and I had never been.
I will be ringing to place an order for some Danish cord. I have 6 chairs to do and a broken bone in my left hand - so hubby is about to get a crash course on cording.
Hope your New Year continues on a happier note.